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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Stress. Something I’ve been doing all too much of recently. I was looking for a passage in my bible the other day and instead came across something i’d written alongside a verse in James. I have no idea where it came from, but it was much needed this week, and here it is:

Worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, strong enough, powerful enough and loving enough to take care of whats happening in our lives. Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience and lack of grace. These behaviours communicate that its okay to sin, and not trust God because this stuff is somehow acceptable. Worry and stress proves arrogance. It declares our tendency to forget that we’ve been forgiven, that our lives here are brief and that we’re headed for a place where we won’t be lonely, we wont hurt or be afraid again, and in the context of Gods strength our problems are small indeed. Sometimes stress and anxiety seem easier. Easier to let the mind run wild with the worry, than to exercise discipline. But are stress and worry evidences of a soul too lazy to keep gaze fixed on God?

Stress brings no joy, but the comfort of Gods saving grace does. Lets bathe in that grace here and forever on.

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Mission Statement:

Doxa Clothing (Greek for Glory) is a Christ Driven lifestyle/streetwear brand that has no set trend and that strives to be so much more than just a clothing brand. Doxa Clothing seeks to show God’s Love through everything we do, breaking all boundaries and uniting and inspiring people.

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

 

Keeping it in the family. Doxa clothing is run by my brother Josh and his good friend Ben (below) , and i think its about time  you knew (if you didn’t know already), a little about them and what they do so you can jump on the Doxa dreaming bandwagon with us.  The rest is their very own words about Doxa’s vision, and if you want to find out more or to purchase some of their beautiful clothing visit http://www.doxaclothing.co.uk, tweet them or Facebook them.

At Doxa Clothing our aim is to be a Christ-driven lifestyle/streetwear brand that represents our faith and shares the love of God. We make no attempt to hide or mask who we are, we simply love God, love life and love people!

We are constantly seeking new ways and new opportunities at Doxa Clothing. It is our belief that Doxa is to be much more than just a clothing brand. We started Doxa because we wanted to be an agent of change. We wanted to share the story of God through what we did. It is our desire to branch out into as many areas as we feel right to do so. Many of you know the links we have with places like St Monicah’s in Kenya. We simply want to see Doxa clothing grow to enable us to help others and develop new projects and ministries.

We would love for example to have a Doxa Coffee House and a Doxa shop. We would love to be producing and selling products from Africa through our work at St Monicah’s in Kenya. This would help us to show exactly where products come from and would enable you as the consumers to see that when you buy with Doxa, you are investing in people and places that really need it. We would love to be supporting many missions and ministries through our work at Doxa.

As a brand with Christian values we want to be faithful to God and to what he requires of us.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” Mark 16:15

Was Jesus one to hang about with all the big wigs or was he down at people level, with the ones that society rejected, the ones in need, the children. God’s heart poured out for the disenfranchised.

We want to share the love that people are seeking and deserve

We want to be able to provide people with jobs from poverty stricken countries

We want to share the hope that we have

We want to become a community and to unite

We want to create clothes that people can feel a part of and even relate to

We want that for each time you put on Doxa Clothing a new story of hope begins

This is our dream, we are not there yet, but with your help and prayers, we can and God willing, we will get to see this vision fulfilled.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Rebecca Rowlands. I could never stop bigging this girl up, not only is she my cousin but she spoke alongside Jill Briscoe and Francis Chan at this years Founders week in Chicago. With a topic of suffering its easy for us to believe its not relevant for us unless we’re going though utter darknesss…well it is. Suffering threatens to tear us from our God, it can cause us to crumble and to lose heart.. yet, ‘todays struggle is tomorrow’s glory’ there is purpose in our pain, and our pain will one day bear an eternal weight in glory. Yes, life in the already is hard and disappointment will come, but these trials cannot reverse the promises of our God. Listen to it for yourselves….

click on the link, scroll down, and its Bex Rowlands Wednesday 8th 3.30pm…

http://www.moodyconferences.com/con_mainPage.aspx?id=82757

 

Jeremiah 31:3

Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love.

Henri J M Nouwen says, “What can we say about God’s love? We can say that God’s love is unconditional. God does not say, ‘I love you, if. . . ‘ There are no ifs in God’s heart. God’s love for us does not depend on what we do or say, on our looks or intelligence, on our success or popularity. God’s love for us existed before we were born and will exist after we have died. God’s love is from eternity to eternity and is not bound to any time-related event or circumstance.

Day two of the Laura Boland bonanza.

There is no formula or list of rules to follow in order to hear from God, so take these only as practical suggestions I have found helpful.

-Check your heart. Why do you want to hear from God? Are you willing to listen even when it’s difficult? If you are looking for God to tick off your shopping list-throw it away! Let Him write you a new set of dreams.

-Since real listening requires full concentration, it helps to be in a place with as few distractions as possible. Go to a quiet place (not easy I realise when you live in halls but go with it); turn off your phone and any music if you find it makes your mind wander. (It’s amazing how rarely we are completely unplugged!) Keep a notebook handy in case you suddenly remember that you urgently need to Google ‘Justin Bieber how old?’

-Be intentional about it. We can’t expect to hear God clearly if our lives are a blur of busyness, as we rush from bus to tube to lecture to meetings. God is often speaking, but are we taking the time to listen? It’s amazing how we can hear from God when we stop and ‘smell the roses’. Someone once challenged me to give God 5 minutes of uninterrupted airtime each day. I couldn’t believe how much I suddenly had to say, but gradually I became more able to listen. Listening is never effortless but it becomes easier with practice (I’ve heard) (boom-boom).

-God speaks in a variety of ways: through the Bible (most common!), an audible voice (least common!), people, books, music, experiences, natural and supernatural means, the list goes on…

-Say a simple prayer as you listen to God in different situations, perhaps following the example of Samuel, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening”. (Samuel 3:7-11) It might help to keep a journal of anything you feel God is saying to you.

-As strange as it sounds-be careful what you ask for! Are you willing to act if God speaks? Think of all the things He has already said to you…

Despite all possible distractions, God can and does still make Himself heard. He may speak to us when we least expect it, and He is not limited to the times we choose to listen. Think bus journeys, in a lecture, in the shower, down at Sainsbury’s. I think God speaks to me through my dreams mostly because it’s the only time I can’t answer back! (See Job 33:14)

Don’t be under any illusions about my ability to hear from God after reading this list, I need to follow my own suggestions and I’d love to hear anything you have to add.

Are there any other ways God has spoken to you? What do you find helpful for placing yourself in a position to listen?

(If you want to read more, I would recommend “Surprised by the Voice of God” by Jack Deere. If you’re at Goldsmiths you can borrow my copy!)

So, for the next few days y’all have a treat from Laura Boland, a fellow Goldsmitharian. Not only is she  Cilla Black’s personal assistant, but, if you ask her, she’l show you how she transforms into a platypus by nightfall ( I’m just kidding) SO please wellllcome her to the flooooooor….

When was the last time you listened to someone, truly listened to every word they said? It requires every ounce of your concentration to fully listen because all distracting thoughts, desires and prejudices must be put on hold as we extend ourselves to the speaker. So often we come to God expecting Him to speak, and yet we are unwilling to put in the effort required to listen. I am as guilty of this as the next person, but I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learnt along the way about my tendency toward selective hearing.

Selective hearing is the act of hearing only what you want to hear, or hearing through your own way of thinking.

Wow, pretty challenging. I’m great at hearing from God when He tells me that I can hop on a plane to the other side of the world, or that the pigeon on my windowsill is a sign that I should quit my awful job. (Don’t tell me you haven’t done the same!) They say we believe anything we’re told, as long as it’s a compliment. But when God tells me to give away that last £10, or quit that bad habit I cling on to like an old friend, I assume I must not have heard Him quite right. ‘It’s just my overly-guilty conscience, grace not works’ I tell myself.

But sometimes God tells us things that make us squirm a little bit. As well as speaking words of comfort and encouragement, he challenges and convicts us. This is always from a place of fatherly love and care. (Have a look at Romans 8:28-29 & Hebrews 12:5-11) It is worth saying here that there is a difference between conviction and condemnation. Conviction pulls us up to a better way of living, whereas condemnation loads us up with guilt and pushes us down. God will never speak words of condemnation to us (see Romans 8:1), but the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, in order to free us from it. (John 16:8)

If we only listen to God when it’s comfortable, we miss out on a whole lot of good stuff and get a skewed perspective of who He is and what He wants for our lives.

Similarly, hearing God only through our way of thinking is like standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon with a balaclava on. (Not recommended, its about 100 degrees and you will get sweaty). What I mean is that we miss out on God’s big picture. His thoughts are not our thoughts and to come to God with a preset agenda or shopping list is to underestimate the potential of his power. (Isaiah 55:8) Imagine approaching the God who created the universe, and presenting Him with a list of wishes like this:

“Dear God, I’d like a husband, two kids and a little house by the sea-near to church of course. We’ll be there every Sunday!”

We have already scripted our lives and although we pray about it day in, day out, we are not really willing to hear from God if His plan does not involve that perfect Cath Kidston house. We have our eyes wide open to any sign that suggests God’s blessing on our plans, clinging on to them for dear life. I am not trying to belittle our plans for domestic bliss as this can apply elsewhere (easy target), but they are just that: OUR PLANS. If we lose the agenda, and come to God with willing hearts and ears fully open we get to hear HIS PLANS. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) They will surpass our expectations!

As we submit ourselves to God’s perfect plans and are fully open to hearing from Him, He places Godly desires in our hearts, which we can expect Him to fulfill! (Psalm 37:4) You never know, these perfect plans may include the bunting you always imagined above the fireplace.

In his grace and mercy, God meets us more than halfway and speaks to us in the place we are at. But as we have discovered, no limitation of ours will ever diminish God’s limitless power to be heard! So, in the next post I am going to explore some practical ways we can place ourselves in a position to hear from God in new ways.

But, for now: I’d love to hear how God has blown your expectations when you’ve allowed Him to speak without censorship…

(If you want to read more, I would recommend “Surprised by the Voice of God” by Jack Deere. If you’re at Goldsmiths you can borrow my copy!)

After taking a long time to do so, i have FINISHED the beatitude series.

Remember…the beatitudes aren’t additional’s, they’re fundamentals. If we want to grow as Christians, if we want to become closer to God, then, with Him as our guide, we must run towards these virtues with our arms wide open, expecting everything. They’re not easy, neither is being a Christian, but if we come before Our God willing and wanting to be changed , He WILL change us.

So, go be merciful, spread peace, be humbled,  be pure, and long to be like Christ, and His promises, His MIGHTY promises, will be revealed to you.